App Island, Negros Oriental

Negros Oriental, known for diving spots and natural parks, is set to reopen for tourism. 

The Department of Tourism has expressed support for the province’s reopening to local tourists as the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has announced the easing of some travel requirements for domestic travelers.  

During a recent visit in Dumaguete City, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said efforts to rebuild tourism in the province are on track and assured local officials of DOT’s full support.

“Everyone is aware that the country’s tourism industry suffered a major setback last year, which prompted many of our destinations, including Negros Oriental, to put up travel restrictions. I am happy to say, however, that there has been significant progress in our efforts to rebuild tourism here in Negros Oriental,” she said.

DOT committed to promote the province through promotional branding campaigns, assist in the establishment of a hyperbaric chamber, and provide digital platform called Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (VIS.I.T.A.) through its attached agency Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) for an efficient visitor management system.

Puyat, who chairs the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD), also lauded the reopening of dive tourism in the Municipality of Dauin to domestic tourists on February 19, adding that more PCSSD workforce will be deployed in the region to strengthen the building capacity and accreditation of dive establishments. 

“This would allow the more efficient processing of the requirements to reopen dive establishments in Negros Oriental. The DOT Region 7 office has also set up several diving activities for the year, including support for a marketing event previously discussed with the Negros Oriental Dive Association,” she said. 

The DOT also continues to support the provincial government by ensuring the health and safety protocols are implemented in the tourism value chain. 

DOT Region 7 has accredited 962 tourism establishments in Central Visayas, 77 of which are in Negros Oriental.

While in Dumaguete, Puyat graced the launch of the “Dumaguete” signage in Rizal Boulevard together with city Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo. 

The DOT Secretary also recommended experiencing budbud or sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves and sikwate or hot tablea drink in the local market for an authentic Dumaguete gustatory experience.

Negros Oriental is the largest province in Central Visayas, logging 283,404 same-day visitor arrivals and 180,857 overnight visitor arrivals in 2020. Among its six cities are Dumaguete, Bais, Tanjay, Guihulngan, Canlaon, and Bayawan.